Desperate Justice: Dennis Carstens
Leo Balkus has insulated himself against all forms of justice. Dealing with Leo means being placed within his hip pocket, owned by his lock stock and barrel and having your every move controlled by what makes him happy. Leo is evil. Leo is dangerous and will think nothing of eliminating even closest friends or family. Heartless, relentless and definitely loyal to no one but himself Leo Balkus has managed to get the goods on judges, lawyers, congressmen, businessmen, police, FBI agents and many court officials. When Leo wants a case thrown out of court he knows exactly who to pay off or threaten to do it. When Robert Corwin was late with his payment Leo made sure he got the message loud and clear. But, not everything goes his way and this time his hired thugs went too far and Robert became an expendable tragedy whose family connections were widespread and quite powerful and whose death would not go with any retribution. Just who would pay and how will be determined by those who are Desperate for Justice. From the author of The Key to Justice comes a heart stopping story of corruption, deceit, betrayal, lies and murder: Desperate Justice: Dennis Carstens.
Marc Kadella has a new client that is definitely guilty. When Robert Corwin’s attackers are arrested he is called by shyster lawyer Bruce Dolan to take on the case of one of his clients. Both guilty but to different degrees, Marc hesitates but manages to get the job done. But, Robert’s family was and is quite powerful and Vivian Corwin Donahue was not about to let her nephew’s death without bringing the killers to justice. Marc Kadella received a call from Butch Dolan two days after the death of Corwin and his landlord and good friend Connie Mickelson informed him of Dolan’s presence and he learned of his request. Learning how the death took place, talking to his client Butch Koll, Marc has to make some choices both moral and ethical. How does a defense lawyer defend a guilty client? Marc spent time scanning the police reports, speaking to his client and hoping that the judge would rule in his favor. But, not every judge is on the up and up and Gordon Prentiss is just one of many in Leo’s hip pocket. Just when he things a deal has been made, hoping that the judge will rule in his client’s favor you hear the voices of Prentiss and Dolan and understand that Marc’s client will be placed under the bus. Pleading guilty was what Marc’s client did. Thinking that the sentence would be light a mistake, as you will learn when you read just what happened in court when the witnesses were called, the prosecution went through its witnesses and the final verdict decided. Blindsided to say the least and the end result read it on page 36 to learn the killer’s fate and what happens when lies are told and your life is at stake when learning just how far Leo’s power goes in chapter 9.
Vivian Donahue made one phone call to a friend. Vivian’s friend Steve Fallon would contact PI Tony Carvelli. A former police detective, doing corporate security and industrial espionage investigation, Tony received Fallon and listened to his offer. Money changing hands, retainer on the way and things get started. But, Vivian was not without other resources or powerful friends and her network went far beyond just Tony. Tony Carvelli retired from the Minneapolis PD as a detective but his manner of handling things would make those on Leo’s payroll pale by comparison. Marc Kadella and Tony Carvelli would team up to take down Leo but can they and how? There is much more. As this case proceeds and you get to know Vivian, her motive for wanting to take down Leo and her reason for wanting Tony around, you hear the voice of a sick and twisted judge named Gordon Prentiss who gets pleasure beating and torturing his wife Catherine. Afraid of her own shadow and knowing that she better do something before it’s too late, Catherine withstands the abuse, the beatings, the death threats and more that she shares with her therapist who listens but does not take any action. Confiding in her friend Ava, she devises a plan to free herself of Gordon. But, things change, Gordon’s position as a judge has been pumped to Senator, and Leo is not happy.
Conrad Nixon is a master at electronics and works for Leo Balkus. Leo owns a bar called the Blue Lady but that’s just a front for his other business. Conrad creates disks for Leo on each of his customers making sure that he has them properly tagged and stores. Leo’s business helps many judges, businessmen and others take care of their male needs but not in a normal way. Young girls and young boys are forced into S&M and to take drugs. Conrad Nixon thought he was immune to what Leo was paying him to do until Tony came into his life and made him deal he could not refuse. But, there’s more as Dolan learns of his betrayal to Leo and then Conrad is forced to play two sides against the middle as Dolan double crosses not only Leo, but also a powerful judge too.
Things heat up on all sides until Leo decides to send Judge Gordon Prentiss a message that will make him turn down the appointment he so coveted as a state Senator. Guilty of beating his wife, tampering with justice and who cares what happens to him, Leo sends his hit man to pay Catherine a visit and things turn sour. Coming home, taking a drink and wondering why he hears a scream from Catherine’s room, the judge enters and finds his wife’s body on the floor. Someone hits him over the head and the next thing he knows he’s being arrested for her murder. Rude, arrogant and lacking respect for Marc of just about anyone else, Gordon Prentiss finds himself on the other side of a jail cell wanting Marc to represent him. But, will he and what will it take for Marc to fight for him? Marc realizes that to defend him would be fighting for someone that deserves what he gets even if he’s innocent. But, circumstances warrant Marc taking the case because a prerequisite for defending someone is not liking them. You don’t even have to believe in their innocence.
Along comes Maddy Rivers from The Key to Justice who is smart, streetwise and definitely an equal match for Tony Carvelli. Working on this undercover investigation into the corruption in the community, hoping to get the goods on Leo, learn more about Gordon and possibly get a get out of jail free card, Prentiss is framed for the murder of his wife. But, let’s not forget the media as we learn more about Melinda Pace twice divorced, no children and now an anchor on the show Court Reporter who loves giving the public a taste of the seedy side of life by reporting stupid things that people do. With a degree in journalism she managed to use her good looks and other female wiles to get head. Melinda is smart and with the help of her producer she manages to stay five steps ahead of each story and other reporters.
As Marc probes into the judge’s life, listens to his account of what happened the reader understands that Leo is powerful, is important to the federal government and information comes to light that he might be in some type of protection program from the past and that his dealings in drugs, gambling, prostitution and murder will go unpunished. But, Vivian Donahue is more powerful. Wait until Leo decides to cross paths with her. Will this be his fatal error? Will the feds or anyone else be able to protect him from her?
The trial begins and the witnesses come and go as the Marc and his team tries to piece together what really happened to Catherine. But, a piece of information comes to light, a defense attorney pays the price and other victim is found as Leo Balkus seems to be the link but can they get him on the stand? What does Vivian reveal that might change things in their favor? What does Marc learn about the judge and Dolan? Would you want him to go free even is he’s innocent? Homeland security and the FBI are they on the take? Just how powerful is Leo? A trial that will keep you glued to the printed page and an author that takes you through each step as if the reader is on the jury and was going to decide on the verdict.
When the trial draws to a close and the closing arguments are given the lawyers explain the charges and what each side has to prove. A verdict that you won’t believe and a surprise twists you won’t see coming. Just who is guilty? Who is innocent? What is the fate of Gordon Prentiss? Can anyone stop Leo? Who is Leo and just what power does Vivian hold? Author Dennis L. Carstens takes the legal system on a definite ride and tests judges, lawyers and defendants to the max before we learn the true definition of Desperate Justice!
This book gets Five Stars!
Fran Lewis: reviewer